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Western red cedar extractives associated with durability in ground contact

Abstract

Western red cedar (WRC) is well known for its natural durability. However, the roles of all the extractives that may be associated with this durability are not fully understood. The literature primarily credits the thujaplicins, with a lesser role for the lignans; however, previous work has identified highly durable material with low thujaplicin content. To elucidate the relative importance of various extractives, the decay resistance of WRC stakes at four test sites was compared with data on the content of specific extractives to determine whether there was any detectable association. The concentration of plicatic acid, a lignan, was associated with the decay resistance of WRC lumber in ground contact. An unidentified, unquantified compound (B) appeared to be similarly associated with decay resistance. The thujaplicins were only weakly associated with the decay resistance of WRC in ground contact.

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Acknowledgments

The work of Peter Laks and Glenn Larkin of Michigan Technological University in installing and evaluating test stakes at the Florida and Hawaii test sites is gratefully acknowledged. The development of the HPLC method for extractives analysis and initial selection of unknown compounds A-I by Bob Daniels is also gratefully acknowledged. FPInnovations would like to thank its industry members, Natural Resources Canada (Canadian Forest Service); the Provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, as well as Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Government of Yukon for their guidance and financial support for this research.

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Correspondence to Paul I. Morris.

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Morris, P.I., Stirling, R. Western red cedar extractives associated with durability in ground contact. Wood Sci Technol 46, 991–1002 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00226-011-0459-2

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Keywords

  • Terpene
  • Lignan
  • Ground Contact
  • Decay Resistance
  • Natural Durability